Who Moved My Quinoa?

Quinoa changed my life in a good way. It helped mitigate the terrible news that “the bread diet” is not a thing and it is the (over) consumption of carbs that will, in fact, make you gain weight. (Sad face.) This nutty, nutrient-rich seed filled the void on my plate in my health-minded adulthood resulting from years growing up as a meat and potatoes kind of gal.

Over time I’ve honed my quinoa usage, finding a place for it in breakfast dishes as well as traditional lunch and dinner fare. For the morning variety, leftovers are the name of the game. My What’s Around mentality drove me to create a hearty Latin-inspired breakfast dish that is fantastic for hosting guests, and can be whipped up in minutes using leftover quinoa and a few items from the pantry. Think over-easy eggs, quinoa, and a spicy mixture of garlic, diced red onion, can of whole peeled tomatoes and a can of black beans. Looks all fancy, tastes delicious and is super easy. Sliced avocado. You get the idea, it is delicious.

But have you ever tried to describe this magical food to a grocery store clerk who has no idea what you are talking about? I have. A memorable occasion happened when my neighborhood Rouses was undergoing renovation so it was harder than usual and involved sharing my schpeal with three different individuals, puzzling each. It goes something like this: “It’s not a grain, it’s actually a seed. But because it is often served where one could serve rice, it could be near rice. Sometimes it is in the organic section but not always. Or maybe by pasta? Have you seen quinoa anywhere?”

Good luck on your next quest. And you know what, change is good. And hey, maybe you will make a new friend in search of quinoa. Worse things have happened.

Tinder is Stupid and Chinese Food is Delicious

So you read my last post, and you are like “Fuck you, Andrea. I don’t feel like defrosting the salmon in the freezer and I just tossed the kale today because I prematurely went grocery shopping and that shit was wilting.”

Fine. Me too. Don’t worry, order Chinese take-out. Definitely bring that home. I am absolutely not condoning a spree at some random buffet. You should have that number saved, and a back up number in case your first choice happens to be closed.

Christmas? No worries, I’m a Jew…that’s a thing. At least in the Northeast. Not sure about Louisiana but it is probably true here too. Unless it’s like bagels, in which case I’m sorry for getting your hopes up. And also don’t feel bad because they probably make a TON of money on Christmas. My work is open 365 days a year, and you know what…that’s their thing. We deal.

Chinese food is basically the cure-all, and can be consumed in bed if you really are feeling like getting down with it. It also makes for great leftovers, so don’t worry if you open the bag and they gave you utensils for 5. No big deal. You know there is no family eating this smorgasbord and they might too but they’d rather err on the side of caution. PLUS think of all the fortune cookies you get to open and not eat. Jackpot.

It’s better than Tinder. 30 seconds on my friend’s the other day I nixed everyone. And remain adamant that I will never, in fact, download that App. (Guess who learned what an App is? THIS GIRL!) Group picture? What the shit is that? I am not trying to group-date. Can’t tell how tall your are? Nope. Picture looks like it is ten years old? Definitely not. I’d rather cuddle up with some Chicken with Asparagus and Hot and Sour Soup.

The Break Up Diet and other Healthy Eating Tips

Supplies

It is important for a girl to have some basic items on hand. Considering I have been more or less broken hearted for the better of the past two years, I have quite well established a method. When a boy breaks your heart, the initial instinct is to never get out of bed again. That lovely empty too sad to eat feeling is always the jump-start to The Break Up Diet. Wanting to feel as empty as your broken heart, let yourself just be engulfed by all of its tragic sadness, fear and longing. However, that won’t go on forever. As much as you want to wallow, it will eventually become less of a thing and you will need to get the fuck out of bed. And when that happens, you need to cook something amazing, healthy and nutritious. So when you jet off to the store to buy your umpteenth bottle of red wine to mourn your loss, pick up an avocado, a carton of eggs and some fresh kale.

What Should Already be on Hand, All the Time:

Go to the fish counter, have them cut 6 oz pieces of wild cut salmon, skin on filets that you can individually freeze in zip lock baggies.

Whole Grain Mustard (can stay in the fridge forever)

Quinoa

Raw almonds

Canned Tuna

Mayonnaise

Lean Ground Turkey (Freeze That Shit)

Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese Spreads

Some kind of bread (multigrain, English muffin, whatever you prefer)

Pasta

Also, go for a run. And kiss a pretty girl. They are soft and lovely and it will make you feel better for the moment. And then make a sandwich, because sandwiches are delicious.

How to Get Drunk at a Bar without Looking like an Alcoholic: Gramercy Tavern Edition

A long time ago I had an idea – to start a blog and talk openly and honestly about funny things like sassy leggings, getting drunk, falling in love and falling down. Here goes, the inaugural Andrea’s Bananas…

Last year I sent a text in the morning to a friend. It read something like this: “OMG I’m dying.” If you know me well, you’ve probably received such a text, most definitely related to a debilitating hangover or some soul crushing heartbreak because of a boy. In the follow-up texts, I revealed that I got silly drunk at Gramercy Tavern, where I “grabbed a bite” after finishing up a work project next door. Hangover aside, I also thought I was dying because I shit you not, I was literally pooping and peeing red. Clearly signs of imminent death. Unless of course you consumed as many beets as I did. (Did you just learn something? This is educational!)

How? I will tell you. I wrote a quick email with the rundown, and am sharing it here. Pro tip: Always go to “eat” and drink while you are at it.

How to get drunk: A short essay.

I love dining at the bar for a few reasons – with company and solo, because it is so fun to order one thing at a time.  I feel like with a waiter, you order everything and hope the kitchen doesn’t fire things too soon, AND you have the added pressure of deciding what you want to order in a short period of time. I’m a waiter, I try to not be an asshole when I go out on the town. The bar allows for browsing the menu and people watching and usually comes with perks like free drinks and humor. I also have the benefit of being a pretty girl so whether I like it or not, people always talk to me. Even if I’m reading a book and showing zero interest in conversation, someone inevitably asks, “What are you reading?” — “Nothing now, you asshole.” Just kidding. Okay, half kidding.

Back to Gramercy Tavern – I started with a glass of Brunello which was tasty while waiting for a seat at the bar.  The bar is packed. Its fancy, Christmas time, and I’m feeling very New York. A seat for 1 was easier to come by than I thought. They actually have a wait list for bar seating so you don’t have to hawk people aggressively to get a spot. Once seated, I went right for the beet salad, which was SO good.  Possibly on the tops for the best thing I’ve eaten, ever.
And with that, they had a really nice Riesling (the German kind, not the sweet American-style crap), and I had that. And then I had the duck pate (mousse?) and I thought I wanted the Brunello with it so I ordered another but it was all very rich and I decided I preferred the dry, crispness of the Riesling. That’s why I back burnered the red for another glass of white.  And by then, I made a friend, the girl sitting next to me, who was drinking a shockingly yellow but very mild white that was great so I ordered my own. Then I had a cheese plate for dessert, and finished my red.  And had a Hot Toddy. It was very lemony, so I ordered a shot of bourbon to fix it, which was HUGE. I poured some and drank some.  And then I was drunk and ordered another shot… b/c what the heck.  They threw on an extra cheese which was sweet, and total bar perks of course and I got a round of bourbon shots on the house (did not need another…) and that is how you get drunk “grabbing a bite” at Gramercy Tavern.